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Old 10-05-2013, 10:00 PM
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criz p. critter criz p. critter is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Los Angeles or thereabouts
Posts: 779
Default My horrible Ludwig experience...

Hi everyone. I wanted to do a follow-up to my original thread (link at the bottom) from back in April...

Brief recap: Original order for my Legacy snare was 1/21/55. When I received it at the end of April it was configured wrong. That turned out to be the shop's fault for specifying the wrong lugs. So I reordered it in the first week of May.

After months of waiting (and a few inquiries from the shop to Ludwig that were answered with "oh yeah, that should ship real soon/that will ship next week/what? you don't have it yet?), I finally got in touch with the L.A. rep who was able to find out that there was some kind of "internal mistake" on Ludwig's part. The drum was then finally shipped a week later, and I received it a week ago last Friday. For anyone who's counting, that's 9 months from the original order, 5 months after the re-order.

So I've had it a week now, and I would've posted here earlier, except that I've been so angry (and actually sick to my stomach the first couple of days) about the horrible quality of workmanship my snare shows. This is the "flagship" line of Ludwig drums, a $600 snare, "made with pride in Monroe, USA". So what is this thing that they sent me?

First thing I noticed was the way the heads were mounted. I don't expect it to be totally tuned from the factory (although that would certainly be a nice touch for a proud old company like Ludwig, wouldn't it?) but both heads were cranked down so off-center that you could easily see it by the rim-to-lug distance being so off on one side to the other, as well as seeing it though the clear snare side head. Again, I don't expect perfect tuning, but please mount the heads so they seat somewhat straight, so they're not immediately ruined. Second thing I noticed was the butt plate is mounted off-level, 1/16 higher on the left to the right side.

Ok... I'm a little disappointed at this point, but as long as the edges are ok... So I pulled off the heads to look, and the next thing is see is the way they've applied the white cortex wrap, 3/8" in from the top edge and 1/4" from the bottom (pic below). Well, ok again... maybe that's just they way they are doing it now? I thought. You don't see it when the heads are on, right?

On to the edges... I laid the snare on various places on my granite kitchen counter to examine in, and my heart just sank. What total shite work. Hills and valleys. So out that you can rock the snare back and forth on the high points, both sides of the drum.

I should've just stopped there, but I'm a glutton for punishment sometimes. I looked closer at how badly the lugs were mounted on the shell, measured them with a ruler to see if what my eyes were telling me was true. And it was. They are different distances from the edge, as much as 1/8" off in either direction. And most of them don't line up vertically, top to bottom lug. This last thing is the least of the problems, as far as I'm concerned, because most people will never look close enough to see it. But still... it just shows me the amount of craft and pride they actually put into their drums. I mean, don't they have some kind of jig to drill the holes more accurately? When I added bottom rims to two of my concert toms a few years ago, I did it perfectly, and I have zero experience with this kind of work.

Finally, the screw adjustment on the millennium throwoff binds when you adjust it. Again, no biggie. Probably a little lube with take care of that.

Oh yeah, one more thing. It supposed to have a Legacy badge, but they put a B&O badge on it. It's pretty level, though, so that's a plus. Way to go, Ludwig!!

So, what... am I just being really anal about this? Yes I am a stickler for details, and when I do a job I like to do it as well as I possibly can. I'll do it a few times if I need to, and throw away my early attempts until I get it right. But remember, this is a brand-new $600 snare, the top-of-the line Legacy Classic. Shouldn't the quality of the workmanship be pretty top-notch?

But it's clearly not. So, my first reaction was to play it for a week, to see how it sounds. I put on new heads and I've played it at a few rehearsals. I'm doing a gig with it tonight. I do definitely like the way it sounds. It is actually a very inspiring drum to play.

I'm now wondering how to proceed. I was considering just having the edges touched up by Bill Detamore of Pork Pie. I live near his shop and have an appointment for next week. I mean, what's the alternative? Complain to Ludwig, have to deal with fighting them, and then waiting dog knows how long for a replacement? And when I receive the replacement, what kind of workmanship will that one have?

But then today I'm having doubts. I've decided it all comes down to the way that wrap was applied. Is that the way they do it now? Seems rather lazy and ugly, but if so... well I'm gonna keep it. BUT, if that was a eff-you from Ludwig? Like I'm too stupid or clueless to care? Well, then I'm calling Ludwig first thing Monday.

Please everyone, give me some input on this!
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Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man. --The Dude